Content-Aware Scaling with Adobe Photoshop CS4 Demo

May 14, 2009 | | Comments 9

I’ve been releasing tutorials all week on important topics like how to store your Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Catalog on an external drive. Important stuff, but not terribly exciting. So today I put together a “behind-the scenes” video which demonstrates how I turned this original capture into this polished photograph!

Original Image Finished Image

Building the finished product here required two super-cool new tricks. Enhancing this image required work in both Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and in Adobe Photoshop CS4. First, I had to use some Graduated Filters in Lightroom to lighten up the rock spiral in the foreground, and to darken down the background sky. I threw these graduated filters over my original raw capture within Lightroom’s Develop Module.

Graduated filters are this amazing new tool which allow us to make changes to our images with long smooth transitions. For years, photographers have been creating this sort of effect at the time of capture using soft-edge neutral density filters. Now with Lightroom v.2 we can create similar effects long after the shutter closes. Not only can we darken a sky, or lighten a foreground, but in Lightroom we can use Graduated filters to add more contrast, saturation, or introduce a new color into one region of our photograph without creating harsh, abrupt, tell-tale transitions.

Graduated filters are cool but wait, there’s more! To complete this image, I had to shrink away some of the middleground. There is just too much “dead-space” between the rock spiral in the foreground and the background sky in my original capture. There is a zone of about twenty feet in the middle of my original image where there isn’t anything important or meaningful. I cut some of this dead-space out using an amazing new feature of Adobe Photoshop CS4 called Content-Aware Scaling.

Content-Aware Scaling, which is built around a new technology called “seam-carving,” allows us to reduce the size of our image without changing the size of the subject. Basically, it is a way of resizing the least important areas of the photograph without changing the most important parts!

This is a phenomenal new trick that I just learned from Photoshop master Mark S. Johnson’s new Photographer’s Photoshop CS4 Companion Ebook.

Content-Aware Scaling with Adobe Photoshop CS4 Demo from David Marx on Vimeo.

If you found my tutorial interesting please click here to see Mark’s version and to check out his new book.

Photographer's Photoshop CS4 Companion


Filed Under: (06) Lightroom Image Enhancement (Advanced)(10) Using Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop TogetherAdobe Photoshop Lightroom Tutorials


About the Author: David Marx is a digital photography instructor whose engaging teaching style inspires photographers of all skill levels. David is an Adobe Certified Lightroom Expert. To learn more about David's Adobe Photoshop Lightroom software training seminars and digital photography field workshops please visit or follow David Marx on Google+.